tv [untitled] December 26, 2011 1:01pm-1:31pm PST
a century now. this time of year, there's only one thing on marysville farmer sam nevis' mind--getting his fruit off the tree. just like any other farmer, getting his harvest in and on time is crucial, even though you won't be seeing these plums in the produce section of the market. that's because you'll be seeing them as dried plums, otherwise known as prunes. and there's no better place for finding some of thbest dried plums than this area. did you know the state's greatest dried plum production actually happens here in the sacramento and san joaquin valleys? farmers here produce more dried plums
than the rest of the world combined. >> right now, we're looking at french prunes about to be harvested. and what i look for to see if they're ripe or not is color. we test for sugar. we look at overall fruit development. and this tree is ready to be harvested. >> here they are harvesting 96 tons of fruit a day. so, to be efficient, almost all the harvesting is done by machines now. a mechanical shaker grabs a tree's main limb and, in a matter of seconds, shakes the fruit onto a fabric catching frame spread underneath. from there, it's a quick conveyor ride to bins destined for the dehydrator. and just in ca you were wondering, they're prus in the field and dried plums after they've gone to the dehydrator. the next step in the life of a prune soon to become a dried
plum happens here at the nearby dehydrator. here, the fruit is thoroughly washed and then placed on large wooden trays. then the fruit is wheeled into these huge ovens where the temperature reaches upwards of 185 degrees. and in a matter of hours, 18 to be exact, voila! you've @t dried plums. then they're off to the next stop-- to the largest family-owned global producer of dried fruit in the world--the mariani fruit company in vacaville. >> my grandfaher came here when he was only 16 years old and decided that he had an opportunity to have a better living here in california. and he came from yugoslavia and got into the agricultural business. so, that was over 104 years ago. >> and now more than a century later, and it's mark mariani and his children michael, christopher, and natalie,
who literally have grown up in the dried fruit business, that are carrying on the family tradition of marketing some of the golden state's best fruit. at their headquarters, trained personnel inspect the fruit, rate it for size, and then package it. and speaking of which, mark's dad was actually the first to package dried fruit in a completely different way. >> as you go into a produce area, you take a look, and you touch and feel, and you see the product. and we just couldn't understand why our competitors wanted to put it behind a bag they can't see. and so, he said, "let's put it in a visible bag. the consumer can see it." and that's been the philosophy that we've had since 1950. >> in addition to those dried plums, they now have a complete line of dried fruit and even dried produce for trail mixes and popular cereals as well. they're processing about 100 million pounds of fruit a year here, so quality is of the utmost importance. and for that, they rely on farmers like sam to keep the family tradition going. >> we find that the best growers in the world are from
california. they have the best technology, the best practices. they're committed to the business. they don't look at as a commodity. they all have an interest, a value added. and when you combine all that, you will have the best product out there. >> i'm prd to be a mariana grower because it ves what you do a good feeling. i mean, you wake up in the morning and, like, "i can do this and grow a good crop and provide it to the area and put it out there in a nice pack." and... makes you feel good. >> so, another member of the family, natalie, here. now, natalie, what do you do for the company? what's your job? >> i have been fortunate enough--i worked in the company a little bit before i had my child, my son. and then i got to come back and be a spokesperson-- >> oh, good. ok. >> and share delicious recipes and do a little bit of online things for them. so... >> that's great. 'cause i think people think of dried fruit, and they think of maybe, oh, just trail mix or snacking. but i mean, look at all this stuff we have here. this is amazing.
>> exactly. and i think that's what we really want to communicate to our customers-- that dried fruit is so much more than snacking. >> yeah. >> you have--obviously, you have all of the baked goods, delicious baked goods. we've got-- >> those look great. >> orange cranberry poppy seed muffins and granola bars. but not only that--you can do main dishes. >> oh, yeah. >> so, you can do a pork loin roact, like we do for our holidays as a family. >> oh, that's nice. >> it's a family tradition now, which we love. we do a plum-stuffed ravioli with ricotta cheese and parmesan and sage butter-- >> oh, wow. >> which is delicious, 'cause you have a savory and a sweet. we've got a ham and a plum kibd of a chutney. >> oh. that looks good. >> just delicious. and what's really fun is, we get feedback from our customers. so, for example, we have a plum cake that a customer sent in as her grandma's favorite recipe and shared it with us, and then we put that on our website and share it with our customers. >> oh, that's neat. >> so, there are so many things you can do with dried fruit. we've got--today, we made a smoothie. i make smoothies for my son at home. >> oh, i love that idea. >> and we put it in a sippy cup, and he loves it. >> [chuckles] i prefer a sippy cup, too, but-- >> [chuckles]
>> we don't have one today, so we'll make do with this. >> just a tall glass today. >> right. hopefully, i can drink out of this. i'll try a little, right? >> yeah. try a little bit. and what's fun about drd fruit is that you don't have to have fresh fruit at home. you can have the dried fruit that's shelf stable, doesn't spoil, in your cabinet-- >> that's good. >> and make a fresh smoothie with it-- >> that's really good. >> which is nutritious and great for your family. you know? >> now, if you do want to do trail mix, you have a really neat idea here. >> yes. this is a really fun snack idea with dried fruit. we mix any ki of nuts or seeds or dried fruit that we're feeling that day. >> ok. i'm feeling the berries today. >> we have berries today. my son loves the bries. we do tropicals. you can throw yogurt raisins in there, which gives it a little bit of creaminess. >> these are cute. >> yeah, blueberries. delicious. >> some nuts. >> high in antioxidants. >> so, you can really tailor this for whoever you're giving this gift to, which-- >> absolutely. yes. >> you know, if they don't like walnuts, we'll do-- >> you can make it super healthy, or you can add a little chocolate and be a little indulgent, you know. >> a little indulgent--just a few there. right. ok.
>> and then what's fun is, once you mix it all up, you can put it in an airtight container, save it on your shelf, and it's ready for whoever wants to snack on it. but the other fun thing is, you're making little gift packages. >> yeah! >> so, like, the holidays, you can go to a prty, and you have something delicious and nutritious and fun to bring to family and friends. so, dried fruit is--there'a lot of options. and all you do is get a little creative. and, ob course, all these recipes are on our website. so, you can-- >> oh. >> see them anytime. >> oh, fabulous. thank you. you're welcome. >> so, are you like me? when you think of mushrooms, do you think of the little button mushroom variety? well, there are actually a lot more mushrooms out there, as i found out. here's a food riddle for you. what food item is grown year-round in california, doesn't need sunlight, flowers, or seeds to grow, and is so popular it has a whole store devoted to it in san francisco? the answer is mushrooms. and
here at the far we fungi store at the ferry plaza building, there is nc better place to educate folks on the mysterious mushroom, even to people who at first glance don't think they have an affinity for them. >> well, i do get a lot of, like, "oh, i don't like mushrooms." you know, generally, it's like, "when i was a kid, my mom would feed me these ones in a can." and you're rlly talking about one variety of mushrooms. and we have 7 varieties of mushrooms. and i think there's a mushroom for everyone. >> they do, indeed, have a mushroom for everyone here, along with every mushroom product, book, or t-shirt you could imagine. but strivinto find a niche among the foodies of the bay area, they are constantly introducing new and innovative products and getting folks like myself more informed about these mushroom-based products. >> keep them in the brown paper bag in the refrigerator, not in
the crisper, and you have no problems with them. >> ok. >> these are the gray morels. and i usually love the flavor on them. >> these are what kind? >> gray morel. >> oh. >> you know, generally, you want something, when you pick it up, it doesn't feel like it's gonna crumble in your hand. >> mm-hmm. >> and all these are really good. i would say this guy is starting to turn a little bit. >> ok, so not this one. >> yeah. so, you can kind of feel it's moist. it's starting to crumble. these are sea beans. >> what are these? >> [chuckles] they're also known as pickleweed, salicornias, uh, samphire, pousse-pierre, a lot of--they're found in a lot of different areas throughout the world. >> just eat it? >> just bite right into it. it's like a little bite of the seed. >> salty. mm-hmm. >> mm-hmm. and they do grow in marshes. >> pure salt. that's good. instead of, like... >> instead of a pretzel with
yo beer? >> yeah, or french fries... >> you can have a little of-- >> or chips. >> wonderful pickled. >> these are good. >> actually, probably better than a pickle when you pickle them. >> and despite their exotic-looking exterior and names, lest you think ian has to forage around the woods looking for these prized mushrooms, all of them are actually farm-raised and come from his family's farm run by him, his dad john, and stepmom toby. located in moss landing in monterey county, the greenhouses span across more than 60,000 square feet and produce several hundred pounds of mushrooms here each week, all of which is a far cry from what the market for mushrooms started out as in the early 1990s. >> well, when my parents started it 21 years ago, they sold the button mushrooms at farmer'' markets. and that was it. that was all that we really had. but we introduced a few more mushrooms--shiitakes, which are now very common, but at the time was very new and different for
a fresh shiitake to be in the market. and now we grow 10 varieties of mushrooms at our farm, and we don't even do buttons really anymore. >> there are very few growers here. most of the product you see is imported from china. we can--you know, it was a perfect window, we thought, to be able to provide a fresh organic product. san francisco is a very nice niche market for organic, sustainable products. and we thought that would be a good market to take advantage of. >> they grow everything from oysters to shiitakes to king trumpets to even something called a bear's head. and it all starts with bricks made of a blend of sawdust and rice bran that are filled into plastic bags. the bags are then
carted into a high-pressure steam treatment and then taken into a clean filtered-air room where workers treat the bags with care as they introduce them to fungi spawn. after a primary growing period of 4-12 weeks, they are then taken to their private rooms to grow for another couple of weeks, depending on the variety, and then they are harvested. >> each crop is about 3/4 to a pound. and they're picked not necessarily by size but by maturity. when the mushroom's veil starts separating from the stem, or when the cap is slightly curled and the gills are all white, this is the time that the mushroom is cut. the mushroom is just hand-cut. and what we're looking for is a roundness and a nice curve
to the mushroom. >> once harvested, the mushrooms are then sorted by size and quickly refrigerated to maintain freshness and quality, both traits the farm has become known for over the years. the family says they are always looking to introduce new fans to their favorite fungi. and with loyal customers willing to cook up these mouth-watering mushrooms, everyone here is ready to be-- yeah, you guessed it--stuffed to the gills with fungi success. for "california country," i'm tracy sellers. >> today, we're going to make a mushroom quiche, one of my favorites. so, let's get started. let's start over here. so, we get the quiche. just use a regular pie dough. and don't be afraid of your dough. get it rolled out. i'm using a mac daddy rolling pin. it's serrated, but it rolls and doesn't get the dough sticky. so, from here... you get it rolled out to the size you want. and it's
pretty fast if you work quickly with a nice, cold dough. and from--i think at this point, you have a nice shape. put this in the refrigerator and chill it down just as it is, and you can fold it. it's really tough. so, what you want to achieve i i would get here a nice fluted pan. pie dgh is inside. just spray the inside and press this in and chill this for another 20 minutes. so, we get started with that. i'm going to slice up some of these shallots. and you can be messy with them, 'cause you want to taste them. you don't want them too fine. you don't know what they are. so, just a few on the bottom. and we're gonna start with, ohh, these beautiful mushrooms. look at that. pull them apart. people like to op them up too fine. when i eat a mushroom quiche, i want to see what it is. so, you get these beautiful colors. and i'm also going to add just a little bit of these small, beautiful sweet tomatoes. so, it makes the color pop and gives the quiche something to go for.
so, next, i'm going to add some parmesan cheese. so, it's about layering. ok? just continue. and please be generous with spinach. it shrinks to absolutely nothing. ok so, it looks like a lot, but trust me. you won't even know it's there when it's done. so, i'm switching up all these mushrooms. and you can see it's big chunks. i mean, it's just beautiful to eat quiche that's full of flavor. and i know it looks like a lot. but just continue. it is your friend, not your enemy, 'cause you're gonna eat it. ooh. one tomato is trying to get away. you get back in there. and pile it up, because with the egg base, it tends to be bland" so, be heavy on the spices and lots of salt. so, from the custard, i mean, that's pretty much done right there. if you feel--you got more cheese? add it. and you can use all kinds of cheese, from guillere--everything is just possible with a quiche.
i'm using one of my favorites-- just a little heat will give you an extra added flavor. and nutmea and quiche, for some reasob, loves each other. and it's one of my new favorite spices, anyway. put the salt in. be generous. i know it looks like a lot. but when it's spread out, it's really not a lot at all. ok? remember parmesan cheese is also salty. freshly ground pepper--i'm putting this in first. and you add your heavy cream, because that oil-based buttery in the heavy cream will help me multiply all this stuff together much better. and use--i have a flat whisk. ok? and once that's done, i'm gonna add the milk. so, it's about a cup each. keep it simple--8 eggs. just dump it all in, 'cause it's a quick dinner, lunch, breakfast, anytime with rolls, croissants.
just with that alone, oh, my gosh. ok. now, the custard is gonna be filled about 3/4 to the top of the rim. we'll leave a little border. ok? take aluminum foil. lightly cover it. and we're gonna t it in the oven quickly at 375 for about 45 minutes. let it cook. take the cover off. 15 minutes--let it finish on its own. and then take it out when it's lightly finished. in the center is the custard. and here's what you get--a beautiful quiche to serve all day long i'm the executive pastry cf at mission beach ca. thank you and good-bye. >> so, if you think i get to taste a lot of great things for this job, well, you'd actually be right. but this next assignment was one of my favorites. for more than 30 years, visitors from all over the state have made massimo's restaurant a favorite when visiting the south bay city of
fremont. and what may seem just like the claic italian fare being served here--'s actually mouth-watering meals that have italian flair, thanks to their special ingredient--pesto. >> i love working with pestos basically because, i mean it's so--you could do anything you want. you could do 80 different kinds of pesto, like you s there. we did a regular basil pesto, did an artichoke pesto. we did chipotle pesto. and they're so diverse, you could do anything. it could go with fish, meats, pastas, anything. basil pesto. >> supplying steve with all of that versatile greenery is bay area legend armanino foods. in business since the 1920s when the family supplied fresh vegetables and herbs to the growing italian community in san francisco, they are now the leader in fresh-from-the-farm pesto, all thanks to a special recipe for success. >> recipe for pesto actually started with my grandmother, and we thought it was a great
product, but no one knew about it. and so, we tried it d processed, brought it to the supermarket, and it started to work out. >> the armanino family says the first year, they sold only 1,000 or so cases. but now, they are shipping upwards of a million cases annually. and they attribute much of their success to their special connection to agriculture. >> a lot of people don't realize just about everything you eat today, you kno originates on the farm. a lot of people don't even consider that or don't think about it. whether it's a cupcake or whether it's a hamburger, whether it's bread, everything starts on the farm. >> everything we eat does, indeed, start on the farm, including basil as the main ingredie in the family's famous pesto recipe, which brings us to supherb farms in the san joaquin valley. >> this area is the best place in the world to grow herbs.
this area, from the delta to, probably 40 or 50 miles south of here, you get the combination of warm temperatures and then the nice delta breeze in the evening to cool things down. so, it is absolutely the best place in the world to grow herbs. >> harvesting at the first sign of daylight is just part of everyday life here, as the fresh basil is plucked from the ground, shippeto the nearby processing facility where, during the busy season, almost 100 tons of basil are trucked in here daily. >> this is basil that was harvested this morning when we were out in the field. we brought it to the factory. we've unloaded it. and now we're washibg it. >> here, the basil is cleaned, flash-frozen at 40 degrees below zero. brr! and then the stems are removed and sold to local
dairies for feed. >> so, what we've done now is we've frozen the product, and then through a proprietary process, we've separated the leaf from the stem. so, what we have now is a free-flowing product that you'd use just like fresh, except it has all the stems removed, and it's cut into a certain particle size. our biggest customers are the food processors. they put it in frozen meals. they'll put it in salad dressings. >> every step is taken to ensure the best product gets from the field to your fork, no matter what form the basil may come in. whether as a pesto pasta, a pizza, or maybe even a potpie, these farmers are ensuring you can enjoy basil all year long. for "california country," i'm tracy sellers. creamy, rich, afd decadent, avocados have become a staple for many of us. according to the california avocado commission,
about 43% of all u.s. households buy avocados regularly now. so en you think of avocados, you probably think of this, right-- guacamole? but today farmers and chefs are proving that avocados cab be so much more. good. ok, sure, what's not to like about guacamole? i mean, we do eat a lot of it. in fact, more than 49 million pounds of avocados in the form of guacamole will be consumed on superbowl sunday alone. but at hawks restaurant in granite bay, they're exploring different ways to use the alligator pear, otherwise known as an avocado. >> we like using california avocados 'cause they're grown as close as an avocado can be. these are froe the simi valley. they're really versatile. they're rich. as you can see, we puree them, we serve them somewhat chunky, we can wrap
things in them, and they're just real versatile. and they're tasty. >> but chefs like michael are just part of the equation of educating consumers on the many fabulous attributes of avocados. the real groundwork begins just there on the ground of the 6,000 farmer across the state who now grow avocados. california farmers produce about 90% of the nati's total avocado crop, and that includes farmers like mark and linda bruce of simi valley in ventura county. not from a farming background, and surrounded by a huge housing development, the couple really didn't know what to do with all of the lush land they had when they bought the property back in 2000. >> because we had always talked about having a ranch. mark and i had talked about it. we did not know what that meant, but that was our--i guess it was a dream, but didn't have any idea how it was going to evolve. and then one day this is where we were. >> a friend of ours said, "it looks like good avocado property." and not knowing
anything about avocados other than that's what i put on my tacos, uh, i >> so the couple learned as they went along, everything frcm soil science to irrigation techniques. and before they knew it, they had developed a thriving avocado orchard along the way. they now have 8,500 avocado trees--trees that have come to mean more to the couple than they ever could have imagined. >> we like to think that we have 8,500 employees working for us here at the facility on our area. and we like to think of every tree as really an individual with its own personality. >> my husband calls them our employees, but they're kind of like my babies, and anytime anything happens to them, you feel horrible. and you see where a tree is stressed, and you have to take care of it. and if any of them die, you feel bad. you
feel really bad. so you want to take of them as best you can. >> and those 8,500 employees continue to rk hard for linda and mark, who continue to dote on them. they hope to harvest about 15,000 pounds of fruit per acre this season alone. each avocado is hand picked, making sure the stem is trimmed off so it doesn't scrape or bruise other avocados when it is packed. and then the fruit is driven here to mission produce in nearby oxnard. >> well, these pere just harvested today. they're, uh, brought by the growers right down the street here, so it's probably the first lot in today. it's one of probably 80--75 or 80 lots that'll come in. a lot could be anywhere from, oh, 10 to 100 bins depending on the size of the grower. >> here they are processing upwards of 650,000 pounds of fruit a day and shipping it
across the country and the world as well. in fact, these avocados most likely will end up in grocery stores, club stores, and restaurants near you, perfectly ripe, just a few days after harvest. >> so what this is, this is what we call a ripening room. it can hold about 20 palettes, which is a truckload. and we'll put food in here that's at about 40 degrees. we'll rase the temperature to the low 60s. we'll add some heat. >> and steve said they've steadily seen an increase in avocado consumption. on average, each american now consumes about 3 avocados per year, but steve thinks that will increase to 5 or 6 avocados within the next couple of years. so whether you try avocados in guacamole at your next party, or try them to support farmers like the bruces, the time is indeed ripe to try some california avocados today.
for "california country," i'm tracy sellers. well, that is gonna do it for e show today. if you have any questions about anything you've seen, check out our website at californiacountry.org. and we'll see you again next week on "california country." [captioning made possible by california farm bureau federation]
>> just a few steps away from union square is a quiet corner stone of san francisco's our community to the meridian gallery has a 20-year history of supporting visual arts. experimental music concert, and also readings. >> give us this day our daily bread at least three times a day. and lead us not into temptation to often on weekdays. [laughter] >> meridians' stands apart from
the commercial galleries around union square, and it is because of their core mission, to increase social, philosophical, and spiritual change my isolated individuals and communities. >> it gives a statement, the idea that a significant art of any kind, in any discipline, creates change. >> it is philosophy that attracted david linger to mount a show at meridian. >> you want to feel like your work this summer that it can do some good. i felt like at meridian, it could do some good. we did not even talk about price until the day before the show. of course, meridian needs to support itself and support the community. but that was not the first consideration, so that made me very happy. >> his work is printed porcelain. he transfers images onto and he transfers images onto and spoils the surface a fragi